• 73°

Virus cases grow, but so do number of recoveries

With an increased focus on testing, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 is growing locally and across the state.

However, it must be emphasized that the number of those recovering from the virus is growing as well.

As of Friday, May 1, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported nearly 11,000 confirmed cases across the state, an increase of 3,000 since April 24. The statewide death toll stood at 399 as of 11 a.m. on May 1. One week earlier, that number was 269.

The four counties of the Roanoke-Chowan area combined for 177 confirmed cases as of May 1. Of that number, 114 have recovered. A county-by-county breakdown of those numbers are:

Bertie: 44 cases (14 active, 28 recovered, 2 deaths)

Gates: 7 cases (3 active; 4 recovered)

Hertford: 39 cases (18 active; 20 recovered; 1 death)

Northampton: 87 cases (19 active; 64 recovered; 4 deaths)

Twenty-four of the confirmed cases in Hertford County were linked to an outbreak at Rivers Correctional Institution, a private prison located near Winton. That number reflects an increase of five confirmed cases since April 24.

“As we continue to navigate this public health pandemic, we are grateful to our community for continuing to practice preventive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” stated R. Battle Betts, Jr., Health Director of Albemarle Regional Health Services.

Betts noted that only one-third of the cases in the region are active today.

“[That] lets us know that we are flattening the curve within our region,” he said. “We know residents may be growing weary of social distancing measures and the stay at home order, however, it is working to slow the spread of COVID-19 and we encourage community members to continue following the guidelines issued by NCDHHS. Your actions are saving lives.

Virus stats from across the state are showing the majority (41 percent) of those testing positive for COVID-19 are in the 25-to-49 age group. However, those succumbing to the virus are older citizens, ages 65-and-over. They account for 87 percent of the deaths statewide.

Public health interventions are and will continue to be an important tool to reduce transmission and prevent the spread of COVID-19. ARHS is continuing to ask its community citizens to be vigilant in practicing preventive and safety measures that will help prevent the spread of the

virus. These precautions include:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Practice social distancing; stay at least six feet away from others, avoid unnecessary travel, avoid handshakes, hugs and other close contact.

Wear a cloth face covering in public when social distancing measures are hard to maintain.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal